Keys capitalize on Pelicans’ miscue to end home streak

pel-coolshotA catching error in the top of the fourth inning proved critical on Saturday night as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans were edged 2-1 by the Frederick Keys at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

In the fourth inning, a fielder’s choice and an error allowed the tying run to cross the plate before the Keys grabbed the lead for good and snapped the Birds’ nine-game winning streak.

Pelicans starter Paul Blackburn entered Saturday’s ballgame having allowed just one earned run in his previous 20.0 innings since his first start off the disabled list on July 13. Out to a 1-0 lead thanks to a Jordan Hankins sacrifice fly in the second inning, Blackburn allowed one baserunner through the first three innings, but that would change an inning later.

In the fourth, Frederick (54-59, 22-21 second half) took advantage of an error to grab a 2-1 lead against the right-hander. Second baseman Jeff Kemp began the frame with a leadoff triple to left-center field, and after a walk, first baseman Wynston Sawyer bounced a ground ball to third base. Jason Vosler fielded and threw home, but it the ball slipped out of catcher Victor Caratini’s glove, allowing the tying run to score. The next batter, designated hitter Yaisel Mederos, laced the first pitch he saw into center field to drive in the go-ahead tally.

Blackburn (5-5) pitched six complete innings and collected his third quality start of the year, but he took the loss. Myrtle Beach (66-46, 25-18 second half), which had won its previous nine home games dating back to July 26, now trails the Winston-Salem Dash by 2 1/2 games in the Carolina League Southern Division Second Half standings.

After Hankins’ sacrifice fly, Keys starting pitcher David Hess shut the Pelicans out for the next four innings, and he surrendered just two hits and a walk to finish his night. Overall, Hess (7-4) tossed six innings of one-run ball, striking out four and walking a pair en route to the win. Right-hander Garrett Cortright tossed a pair of scoreless, hitless innings in relief, and left-hander Donnie Hart closed out a scoreless ninth inning for his first save with the Keys this year.

With his second-inning knock on Saturday, Pelicans shortstop Carlos Penalver has collected five hits in his last 10 at-bats, scoring four runs and knocking in two RBI. His last two hits have been a triple and a home run.

Left-hander Tyler Ihrig pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Blackburn, walking two and striking out a pair.

The Pelicans wrap up their six-game homestand on Sunday with the series finale against the Keys scheduled for 6:05 p.m.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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